Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge?s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 17 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
PGN Fun Center's two adventure-themed miniature-golf courses wind through several levels of tall hedges, boulders, waterfalls, castles, and caves. Rope bridges, slopes, and stairs lead putters along each course, which eventually meet at the fun center's main playhouse. Inside, flashing lights and sirens radiate from an arcade full of ticket-spewing skill-stoppers, skee-ball games, and classic video arcade consoles. A three-tiered indoor playground provides pintsize guests with several slides, tunnels, and ball pits to explore, and the onsite kitchen fires hot dogs, pizzas, and chicken wings to keep growling stomachs quieter than a miming church mouse. PGN Fun Center also hosts two levels of hitting stations on its outdoor driving range.
Nowadays you can use golf as an excuse to get away from family game nights, family meetings, or family golf getaways. Escape excruciating moments with today's Groupon: for $96, you get a round of golf with golf cart rental at six Chicago Park District Golf courses (a $191 value). The courses include Robert A. Black, Sydney R. Marovitz, Columbus Park, Jackson Park, Marquette Park, and South Shore.
What makes it great: two 18-hole courses with inspired vintage obstacles, such as a giant Frankenstein head and the Statue of Liberty; layouts change periodically; batting cages and old-school fast-food stand onsite; featured on 190 North
At any moment, visitors to Wilderness Falls might run into the resident moose. He isn?t grazing: Maddux the Moose, the family fun center?s fuzzy mascot, spends his time playing its two 18-hole, outdoor mini-golf courses and accepting high-fives and hugs from enthusiastic guests. Maddux isn?t the only fixture that may make guests feel as though they?ve wandered into the woods?; the two mini-golf courses are pretty rugged themselves. The Bear Course, which hosts the annual Chicago Mini-Golf Championship, leads putters past a 35-foot waterfall, into a dark cave, and across creaking wooden walkways, just like the race all of Harrison Ford?s clones run to determine which one will get to play Indiana Jones. Alternatively, the Eagle Course leads players around winding rivers and on a climb to the top of a 40-foot mountain of rock.
Of course, it?s not all roughing it. In the middle of the greens sits the tented arena that holds Wilderness Falls? batting cages, including six baseball cages and three softball cages. An arcade lights up the indoor space with the glowing screens of video games, and party rooms hold birthday and team celebrations.